Frequently Asked Questions: Paul, My Farm Dog Barks a Lot and the Neighbors Complain. Do I Have a Defense?

Image of farm dog on farm in New York. Image by Chesapeake Bay Program via flickr.com

This is not a substitute for legal advice. 

            I have gotten a few questions involving farm dogs here lately and thought I would take a moment to provide information here on the issues. If you have livestock, you may have a dog to scares away predators that might injure or kill the livestock. This dog may bark throughout the night, which may cause an issue for your neighbors. And although your neighbors may find this a nuisance, many Maryland counties specifically exempt dogs used on farms from county ordinances limiting dogs from being a nuisance. You should check your county code to determine if farm dogs are exempt from the nuisance limitations in your county. For those in counties without a code provision for farm dogs, the county’s right-to-farm ordinance and state’s right-to-farm law potentially provide protections.

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